EPA Crying Over Unspilled Milk

The U.S. EPA has classified milk as an oil that is subject to federal regulation, which requires that it be regulated under the Clean Water Act. The EPA ruling mandates that dairy farmers, already struggling to stay in business due to depressed milk prices, prepare and implement oil spill prevention plans for milk storage tanks. In response to EPA's regulatory overreach the Michigan Senate passed Senate Resolution 158, which states: "The EPA has created an onerous solution searching for a problem; ..... we urge the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to rescind rules that would require dairy farms to have oil spill prevention plans for milk storage tanks......"

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Supporters of the EPA rules that treat milk like oil contend that milk contains high levels of phosphorous, which could contaminate waterways. Many fertilizers used by farmers also contain phosphorous. Michigan farmers routinely prepare and adhere to nutrient management plans using generally accepted management practices that are designed to minimize the runoff of nutrients to streams and lakes.

Left unchecked, the EPA will regulate every aspect of American life, often in ways that defy common sense with little environmental gain. Perhaps rather than crying over spilled milk, the EPA would better serve the environment by removing roadblocks to cleaning up the Gulf oil spill.